Click on the photos to get a better view.
Click on the photos to get a better view.
“Robyn Cafasso, Chief Deputy District Attorney with the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office called at 11:48am (May 23, 2011). She said they are prosecuting Ray Marshall and Landco and are looking for additional information on the construction projects at 19 N. Tejon and the Gas Ops building related to El Pomar’s contract. She said they are interested in construction invoices from Landco or whatever we might have related to the two projects. She said she knows there is a confidentiality agreement for the civil lawsuit, so the D.A.’s Office would be happy to provide a Court Order or whatever is needed to enable you to turn the documents over. She has already spoken with Elena Nunez and Pat Kelly and has been referred to various people and your name also came up.”
– city employee Denise Hoover wrote in an email to Terri Velasquez, the city’s former director of finance and administrative services.
“Denise, there is very little information that I can provide. Please have her work with (City Attorney) Pat Kelly and (City Auditor) Denny Nester.”
Bach talked about the challenges facing city government, including a backlog of up to $1.1 billion in stormwater and other infrastructure.
But he was also optimistic, saying that if the community pulled together, Colorado Springs could be a model city.
“I’m all about solutions,” he said.
Bach also shared an interesting story about a phone call he received just two weeks into the job from one of his “strongest supporters” on the campaign.
“This supporter said, ‘Steve, I just have to tell you there’s a lot of concern out here among some of your supporters about your early decisions,’” Bach recalled.
“I had been in office two weeks. I said, ‘Well, tell everybody to take a deep breath. It’s probably going to get worse.’ Not on purpose,” Bach said.
Other highlights of the mayor’s speech:
Bach said rumors are circulating that he’s going to “slash” city salaries by 50 percent. They’re not true, he said.
Bach said city staff have found a “few million” dollars in efficiencies for 2012. He said it was a good start but that “hard discussions” were looming.
“Basically, we either need to increase our revenue by at least $10 million a year or cut our expenses by that much to be solvent here in a few years,” he said. “Any ideas would be welcome.”
Bach said Colorado Springs must have a city leadership that is fiscally responsible.
“We must build up our reserve for that rainy day. The next recession will come. Many economists think in 2014,” he said.
When asked about recent decisions by the City Council, including the massive USOC mural/billboard, Bach initially sidestepped the question.
“I was hoping they would put my name on it,” he joked.
“As for the mural and so forth, you know, from this point forward, we need to get on with the fundamental priorities,” he said later.
Diversity in the workforce was a hot topic.
“I want to see action steps, not quotas, but how are we going to drive toward the ultimate result that our city government is going to reflect our community,” he said.
Bach met recently with former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, who is now vice president of the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado.
“We just talked about how I can get to know more people from that part of the community and get their thoughts and concerns and learn what are the barriers that are thrown up,” he said.
“As for the mural and so forth, you know, from this point forward, we need to get on with the fundamental priorities.”
– Mayor Steve Bach said today during the Latino Community Luncheon when asked by an audience member to weigh in on recent City Council decisions, including the 8-1 vote to pay for a massive mural/billboard with general fund dollars.
The mural, which is more than a month behind schedule and is undergoing some revisions, touts Colorado Springs as the “proud home” of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“I think it’s coming along nicely.”
– Mark Jones, a spokesman for the U.S. Olympic Committee, said when asked about the progress of a massive USOC mural/billboard being painted on the roof of a downtown building.
The artwork has encountered a few setbacks, including vocal opposition from Councilwoman Angela Dougan and the hot and rainy weather, which has delayed its completion.
Here are some highlights:
Will council members raise questions about the so-called Press-Ganey survey, which was the subject of an anonymous letter questioning McEvoy’s ability to lead Memorial as an independent nonprofit?
The City Committee, a group of business leaders who have been analyzing city operations for the past year and recommending ideas that mirror the private sector, will present some of its findings.
The group, essentially an unpaid consultant to the city, has been meeting with council members and others behind closed doors to discuss its findings, so today’s presentation is believed to be the first before the general public.
Will city staff challenge The City Committee’s findings?
The council will get a lesson in how it can – and can’t – market itself as the home of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Under a 30-year economic development agreement between the city and the USOC, Colorado Springs can use the “USOC’s famous marks to promote its unique partnership.”
But there are restrictions, and in the past, the city has had to jump through hoops to use the five-ring logo.
Will questions about the massive mural/billboard come up?
Interim Fire Chief Rich Brown will give council members an overview of the Fire Department, and Nick Kittle, public works team leader, will give an overview of the Public Works Department. Six of the nine council members are new, so they’ve been getting a variety of lessons about the city government and Colorado Springs Utilities.
Today’s council meeting is at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave. It starts at 1 p.m.
If you can’t make it downtown, tune it to SpringsTV Channel 18, which airs the meeting live.
If you can’t watch it live, the meeting and other videos will be available later on springsgov.com.
Of course, The Gazette will be there, so check out gazette.com or pick up tomorrow’s newspaper to read about what happened at the meeting.
“I am providing this statement to help clarify the situation concerning my termination of employment with the City of Colorado Springs, which occurred on July 28, 2011. I was terminated from my position as Director of Finance and Administrative Services, and offered no new employment.
On June 27, 2011, after nearly 24 years of proud and faithful service to the community of Colorado Springs, I was presented with a four month severance package to resign from the City. The package contained a provision that would prevent me from communicating anything negative about the City. When I asked Steve Cox, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and my supervisor, why he wanted to end my employment, he stated that he had given me a year to get on board and I had not gotten on board.
During my performance review with Steve Cox in April 2011, he never mentioned that I was not on board. The rating Steve Cox gave me exceeded expectations.
If what Steve Cox was referring to was a cover up of facts relating to financial problems or mismanagement, I was not on board. One of these instances included an overpayment of $4,913 to Mr. Cox, which occurred in May 2010, and while he was Chief of the Fire Department. Mr. Cox never voluntarily brought this overpayment to the City’s attention.
Six months after this overpayment occurred, Finance staff discovered the problem. This overpayment could have caused taxpayers to pay Mr. Cox an additional $160 per month in pension benefits for the rest of his life. I took the initiative for the public good and reported the overpayment to Denny Nester, Internal Auditor. Within days of reporting the concerns to the Auditor, however, I was requested by the Administration to consider a voluntary severance from employment. I refused the implied or expressed request to resign. Mr. Cox ultimately repaid the City. There were other fiscal improprieties that were discovered and reported.
I also have not been on board in regard to the El Pomar Foundation’s donation to the City for the USOC project and the alleged mishandling of those funds. In April 2011, I was asked by a City official to prepare a statement to the El Pomar Foundation regarding their donation to the City for the USOC project. That statement was to certify to El Pomar that the donated funds had been used appropriately. I declined to provide that statement given that the funds were used by LandCo in a manner inconsistent with the required usage terms. The District Attorney’s office met with me in June 2011 regarding its investigation into the alleged improper use of El Pomar funds. I was cooperative in this investigation and reported the meeting to the Administration before it actually occurred. I was not told that I could not meet with the District Attorney. Soon after cooperating with the DA’s investigation I was presented with a new severance package for a voluntary resignation. I understood that I was being threatened with termination of employment if I did not sign a voluntary resignation.
On June 28, 2011, I met with Mayor Steve Bach. I told him I was upset at what was occurring and asked the Mayor if he had reviewed the severance package. The Mayor said that he had not seen the package. I asked the Mayor if I could continue with my employment and suggested that I report to him directly or someone else. The Mayor said that I could not. I asked the Mayor if he knew why I was being forced out of employment and terminated, and explained to him my perception that I was being terminated for reporting financial mismanagement. The Mayor refused to act and said that he would support Mr. Cox in his decision.
I have now been terminated from employment.
I intend to fight this wrongful termination. I have done nothing wrong, and the citizens of Colorado Springs have a right to know how their officials are functioning and also have a right to demand honesty and transparency in government. It behooves the City Council to conduct an investigation into whether there have been any improprieties and wrongdoing by high ranking City officials.”
Any additional questions about the situation should be referred to my attorneys at the law office of Frank and Finger, P.C.
At first glance, Colorado Springs doesn’t appear to be the “proud home” of the U.S. Olympic Committee anymore.
Part of a taxpayer-funded mural to promote Colorado Springs as the “Proud Home Of The U.S. Olympic Committee” is being repainted.
“The artist finished ‘United States Olympic Committee’ with the distressed lettering and background of the letters. Vladamir Jones requested he paint over the ‘Proud Home Of The’ because it was slightly out of position,” city spokesman John Leavitt said today in an email.
The mural, which is being painted on the roof of a downtown building facing Interstate 25, has been a source of controversy since the City Council decided to use taxpayer money to fund it.
Council members hoped to have the mural finished by the Fourth of July in time for the U.S. Women’s Open, but it’s almost a month behind schedule. In addition, some of the letters in the mural looked out of proportion.
The mural will feature hometown hero Henry Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist.
“The wrestler image will begin next week,” Leavitt said.
(CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO GET A BETTER VIEW.)
“The mural is a work in progress. I’m not sure where we’ll be at the end of the week. We will have to wait and see what the progress is at that point.”
– city spokesman John Leavitt said today in an email when asked whether a rooftop mural promoting the city as the home of Olympic champions would be completed by the end of this week.
Last week, Leavitt told Councilwoman Angela Dougan that the “latest estimate” to finish the mural was the end of this week.
When the City Council decided to pay for the mural in an 8-1 vote, with Dougan opposed, the hope was to have it finished by the Fourth of July in time for the U.S. Women’s Open.
But even now, more than two weeks after council members had hoped to have the mural complete, the mural doesn’t look anywhere close to being finished. In fact, the artist hasn’t even started painting the picture of hometown hero Henry Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist who will be featured in the mural.
The photo in this blog post was taken today. Click on the photo to get a better view.
“I’m sorry. I got a bad connection.”
– former Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera joked when asked what he thought about the mural that’s being painted on the roof of a downtown building to promote the city as the home of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Rivera, who worked on the deal to keep the USOC from leaving Colorado Springs, said he would reserve judgment until the mural was completed.
“Hopefully it will be done professionally and look attractive, and it will shed good light on the city. It’s not done yet,” he said.